The Perfect Recipe for Networking

How do you get the largest names in publishing, advertising and marketing and enterprise to return your calls? How do you get them to hitch you for an intimate night? How do you pack a non-public occasion with greater than 40 top-tier journalists?

For those who requested Sol Orwell, founding father of Study, he’d let you know it comes down to 1 ingredient: cookies. Nicely, perhaps two: cookies and a trigger.

On November 4, 2017, Sol Orwell and Tammy Tibbetts, CEO and co-founder of She’s the First, performed host to a veritable who’s who of influencers on the first annual NYC Charity Chocolate Chip Cookie Off. Notable attendees included best-selling writer Seth Godin; private finance guru Ramit Sethi; Nick Ganju, whose firm ZocDoc was valued within the billions; Mark Manson, writer of The Delicate Artwork of Not Giving a F*ck; and the king of food-related networking himself, Keith Ferrazzi.

Half media occasion, half philanthropy, the Cookie Off reveals two components excellent for not solely main your personal networking occasion but additionally for networking itself. And identical to any nice recipe, what you allow out is commonly extra essential than what you set in.

The Cookies: Networking is concerning the particular person, not who they know.

At first, cookies would possibly sound like an odd centerpiece to world-class networking. However they function a metaphor. Take, as an illustration, the attendance of Seth Godin.

“Right here’s the reality,” Orwell instructed me, “I don’t actually know Seth Godin. Seth was there as a result of his spouse Helene’s bakery, By the Means Bakery, was competing with a gluten-free loaf she’s been perfecting for years. Once I was chatting with Helene, at no level did I ask if her husband was coming. It wasn’t about him; it was about her. It was about what she did and her pleasure. If she introduced, Seth—cool.”

Once I requested Brian Dean, a search-engine optimization entrepreneur, why he’d made the journey from Berlin, his reply echoed the identical sentiments: “Was flying 3,965 miles price it? Positively. Do these of us know extra individuals than the common Joe? Most likely. However that’s not why I wished to fulfill them. I didn’t fly all that method to meet particular person X as a result of she is aware of particular person Y. As an alternative, I traveled midway the world over to rub elbows with humorous, sensible and constructive individuals themselves.”

The temptation in networking is to continuously commerce up the chain, to let our egos taint and finally spoil what would in any other case be a wholesome relationship. One eye on the particular person in entrance of us, the opposite runs forward to who they know and what they’ll do. Such an perspective not solely ruins one-on-one relationships, but additionally any probability of who would possibly come subsequent.

Ferrazzi, writer of By no means Eat Alone, put it to me like this: “It’s all concerning the particular person and being a high-quality particular person your self. Sport-changing relationships evolve in three phases: who you realize and are related to, the way you create a supportive group amongst them, and the way you co-elevate with one another to drive change.”

As an alternative of searching for greener pastures, our purpose should be to focus each eyes on who we’re really talking to. Or, maybe even higher, all eyes on one thing past us.

The Trigger: Networking is about giving, not getting.

When the massive day arrived, greater than 40 journalists from publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fortune, Males’s Well being, Enterprise Insider and SELF arrived as nicely. Naturally, they hadn’t discovered their method to the social gathering by chance; they’d all been invited. However much like the earlier level, how they’d been invited holds the important thing.

“I wished them to fulfill me and my pals and get to know the constructive affect we’re attempting to make,” Orwell defined. “Positive, I used to be organized about it. I had a spreadsheet with their names, emails, social handles and publications. However what I didn’t do was say, ‘Hey, it is best to come and canopy this.’”

It’s a troublesome line to stroll: balancing giving with getting. Is it manipulative to cover our “true” intentions in networking and construct a relationship on what some would possibly name pretense? That every one will depend on what your true intentions are.

On the coronary heart of the Cookie Off wasn’t Orwell, nor any of the massive names, nor even the cookies. Moderately, it was a trigger. She’s the First is a New York based mostly nonprofit dedicated to sponsoring “women who would be the first of their households to graduate highschool,” primarily in low-income nations past the West.

As an immigrant himself, partnering with She’s the First was, in Orwell’s phrases, “a no brainer.” And handing over a $30,000 test stood out much more than Milk and Cookies Bakery’s darkish chocolate toffee potato chip crunch (which gained the occasion’s most attention-grabbing cookie award).

After the occasion, Dorie Clark, writer of Entrepreneurial You and longtime contributor to Harvard Enterprise Overview, instructed me: “I like to recommend individuals wait at the very least a 12 months earlier than asking for favors. It’s that essential to ascertain your self as a giver, somewhat than a networking leech.”

Likewise, Troy Osnioff, co-founder of JUICE, famous, “It was exceptional watching everybody rally round Tammy and particularly the ladies; immediately all our conversations took on a way of gravity.”

This isn’t to say networking has to revolve round a charity. But it surely does imply that relationships are finest established and nurtured upon causes bigger than simply us.

“True pals,” wrote C.S. Lewis, “don’t spend time gazing into one another’s eyes. They might present nice tenderness in the direction of one another however they face in the identical course—towards widespread tasks [and] targets.”

Networking isn’t about you.

The truths about networking are counterintuitive, however highly effective.

“I’ve constructed my community by giving,” personal-branding knowledgeable Leonard Kim says. “Once I first began writing, my solely intent was to verify others would by no means should expertise any of the hardships I skilled. Sol’s philosophy of giving has pushed real change to philanthropic missions and a way of group inside his community.”

Nonetheless, it by no means hurts to serve up one thing candy, as nicely.

This text was printed in November 2017 and has been up to date. Picture by Jono Erasmus/Shutterstock

Aaron Orendorff

Aaron Orendorff is the VP of Advertising at Widespread Thread Collective, an ecommerce progress company serving to DTC manufacturers scale past $2M-$30M. Beforehand, he served as Editor in Chief of Shopify Plus; his work has appeared on The New York Instances, Forbes, Mashable, Enterprise Insider and extra. For those who’d like to attach with Aaron, attain out by way of social — he’s a sucker for DMs about content material advertising and marketing, bunnies, and rejection.

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